Coalition will improve Australia’s agricultural export legislation
3 December 2015
Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, has today announced that the Coalition Government will make improvements to agricultural export legislation to better support exporters of agricultural products and facilitate trade.
This completes the first stage of the Agricultural Export Regulation Review, which commenced in July 2015 and has involved extensive engagement with industry and stakeholders.
Minister Joyce said that a wide range of stakeholders across all agricultural export industries around Australia were consulted as part of the review, as well as state and territory governments and overseas trading partners.
"The review found that the legislation has served our exporters well over the last 30 years. It has assisted us in capturing and maintaining overseas markets, and supports our initiatives to facilitate trade," Minister Joyce said.
"But we cannot rest on our laurels and the Coalition Government is determined to ensure that we have contemporary, flexible and efficient laws that can respond to a range of situations and support our farmers and exporters—now and into the future.
"There is scope for the regulatory framework to be modernised to enable exporters to meet future importing country requirements and seize future opportunities.
"We need to put the right policy and regulatory framework in place so our agricultural exporters—and our farmers—can innovate and make the most of every opportunity to increase profits.
"This includes making the rules for exporting easy to apply, and providing a more effective set of enforcement tools to prevent those who don't follow the rules from bringing the system down for everyone."
Minister Joyce said the development of improved agricultural export legislation ties in with wider government initiatives to support a stronger economy.
"This government has now delivered four free trade agreements in two years—the multilateral Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and bilateral agreements with China, Korea and Japan—three of our biggest agricultural trading partners," Minister Joyce said.
"In addition to the three bilateral trade agreements and the TPP, this government has achieved over 50 key market access gains or restorations, and over 30 key improvements or actions to maintain market access in the agriculture portfolio.
"We've delivered the Ag White Paper and through it we're investing $30.8 million to increase our overseas counsellor network and to reduce technical barriers to trade.
"It makes sense that the government should redouble its efforts to make sure there are no unintended barriers to full participation because of unnecessary regulation."
Minister Joyce said it would take some time to develop the improved legislation—and industry and trading partners as key stakeholders will continue to be consulted throughout the creation of the improved framework.
"Our commitment to meeting importing country requirements and demonstrating our quality agricultural products meet those requirements is not up for negotiation. However, we can be smarter in how we do it, including through more flexible, efficient and contemporary legislation," Minister Joyce said.
"The reforms we are embarking upon stand in stark contrast to the former Labor government's lazy and haphazard maladministration of Australia's food and fibre export regulatory system during its previous term."
For more information about the review and next steps go to www.agriculture.gov.au/export-regulation-review.